What an amazing festival Rockville 2021 was. I know this is only my 3rd festival but compared to the other 2 this was like night and day. Everything went smoothly like it was supposed to. I’m sure there were people who had some bad experiences but mine and the people I camped with I have nothing negative to say about it.
For this festival it was me, Jess and Lexi who went. We flew out of Denver taking a red eye flight at 1 am, putting us in Orlando at 6:30 am. We flew into Orlando because it was much cheaper than flying directly to Daytona Beach. After grabbing our bags, we headed to the car rental place. It took a while for that car rental place to have a shuttle come by to pick us up. I think we waited there for more than a half hour. Once we got there that was an ordeal. The car rental company charged me an extra $200 because they said I was there early, which has never happened to me before. I would never recommend using Action Car Rental aka Nu Car. Once we got past that it was off to Daytona which was only a little over an hour drive. We met up with some friends of ours and we drove right in without any huge lines. We also had an early entry pass that we paid extra for, which gave us a great camping spot near the entrance of the festival. I think we were around half a mile from camp to doors. They also had several shuttles that worked on a tip basis, which was nice.
That first night after we had camp set up, we went to check out a couple of the local bands that were playing on the Twitch stage. We watch The Noctambulant band first. They were a pretty heavy band, but they were very entertaining. The crowd there was dancing around and a few people were moshing. I honestly don’t remember which of the bands but one of them I joined the little mosh pit while I was smoking a blunt. There wasn’t a lot of people there that night but the ones there were certainly into the music. I ended up with a pick from that band which is always cool. The next band we watched was The DooD, they were also a pretty heavy band. I thought the 2 bands we watched were great and there were still 3 other bands playing that night. However, after traveling as long as we had we decided to call it an early night so that we could be refreshed for the next day when there was more bands we wanted to see.
Thursday, we got up and got ready then Jess, Lexi and I went into the festival just to check things out. I think it was around noon and there weren’t any bands we wanted to see so we just walked around and then bought some merch. The merch lines weren’t bad I think we only stood in line for about 20-30 mins. Between the 3 of us we bought so much merch we walked back to camp to drop it off. Then we all as a group went in. The first band we saw was Spiritbox. Some of the people in our group knew of this band and said they were really good, so we wanted to make sure we got in early enough to watch their set. I have to say I was impressed the band was very good. Their singer can really scream! They only played for about half an hour. We ended up staying at that stage to watch Dead Sara. I didn’t know any of their songs but others in our group wanted to see them and there were no other bands I wanted to see so we just hung out there. We ended up staying at that stage which was the Space Zebra Stage to watch Grandon. I knew one of his songs, but I didn’t know any of the others. It didn’t matter though, he was so energetic and engaging with the crowd. I really liked his entire set he put on. We were on the rail for all those bands but then decided to go walk around a bit and were going to catch Gojira from the back which we did. It was during Gojira’s set that another band was playing called Brass Against on another stage. I wasn’t at that stage but if you haven’t already heard the story google it. I guess the singer pulled some dude out of the crowd and peed on his face. As I said I wasn’t at that stage to see it happen, but I did see the video. Anyway, after Gojira played we headed to the Octane Stage where A Day To Remember was already playing. There were so many people at that stage and so many mosh pits going on. We slowly worked our way through the crowd during their set, which was amazing by the way. The crowd was really into them. We ended up getting about 3-4 people away from the rail by the time their set ended. So, we decided to keep our spots and skip Cypress Hill. This way we would have a good spot for Slipknot and wouldn’t have to fight our way back up. When Slipknot hit the stage the place went crazy. People were pushing and shoving we were packed in there so tight. Then the crowd surfers were coming it was crazy but at the same time a lot of fun. With all the crowd movement by the time it was over we were 1 deep on the rail. Slipknot put on an incredible set. They played so many good songs like Before I Forget, Wait and Bleed, People = Shit and their new song The Chapeltown Rag. This is my 3rd or 4th time seeing them and as always, they did a great set!
Friday, we got up still feeling a little tired but ready to take on the day. We all headed in around 3 pm as some of the group wanted to see Zero 9:36. Jess and I ended up leaving the group as I wanted to see what the crowd looked like at the Space Zebra Stage where Metallica was going to be playing that night. When we got there Ayron Jones was playing and there was a lot of people there. We stayed and watched his set. I had never seen him live before and he was really entertaining. He had so much energy and the crowd was feeling it. At the end of his set, he walked down and talked to everyone who was on the rail and signed autographs. Not many people left, and it appeared most were there and were going to be waiting there for Metallica. So, Jess and I decided to just stay at that stage for the rest of the bands in hopes that we could slowly work our way closer. We didn’t see Starset, Beartooth, Chevelle or Rob Zombie at their stages but they did show their sets on the screens (Besides Zombie) at the stage we were waiting at which was nice. The next band that played on our stage we were at was Ice Nine Kills. I had never seen them live before and to be honest I didn’t even know any of their songs, but they were really good. They wore masks that they changed out throughout their set. After they played, we saw Pennywise. I had seen them once before as an opening band for The Offspring. They were just as good as they were back then. The crowd was so into them and the mosh pits were so big no one was really crowd surfing. I thought we were going to have the same type of crowd for Social Distortion who played after Pennywise. They were nothing like the Pennywise crowd. I was a little shocked to see that no one was moshing, pushing or even really crowd surfing during their set. Perhaps they were saving their energy for Metallica? I do know that throughout the bands that had just played we did manage to get about 4 deep from the rail. When Metallica hit the stage, the place went crazy!! They opened with Whiplash! Their entire set list was so good!! When they played One they started with the clip from Johnnys Got A Gun from their One video. I tell you I got goose bumps when that happened it brought me back to high school Dan. I got to see them play No Leaf Clover which I have never seen live or Whiplash for that matter. At the end of their set, they threw handful after handful of picks out and in the crowd, but I wasn’t able to get one. I was a little disappointed especially since one had bounced off my chest. However, I was still riding a killer high from seeing their set and being so close to the stage!
Saturday, we took it kind of easy and decided to go in later in the day. I ended up going in just in time to see the Sick Puppies set. I actually watched their set from outside of the gates because I had a couple of beers, I was still drinking that I couldn’t take in. I could see and hear it just fine from there. Jess and I got in the venue in time to catch Fever 333, they were really good, as always lots of energy! I have seen them a few times and they never disappoint. We didn’t watch from up in the crowd we were more in the back where we could sit down, listen to the music and I could smoke a joint or a bowl if I wanted to. In fact, we decided to do that for the entire day. We saw Badflower from behind the main crowd. That was my first time seeing them live. They put on a great set though I only knew 2 of their songs. The Offspring was next on that stage, so we just stayed there to watch their set. They did the exact, almost word for word set, that they did at Blue Ridge just 2 months earlier. Even the small talk they did to the crowd was almost word for word. They put on a good set don’t get me wrong I wish they would have just mixed it up a little. I tell you who put on a great set that night, Staind killed it! I expected Aaron Lewis to talk politics and he didn’t say anything. He just played music and all his hits. I was actually shocked at how much I liked his set. The nights head liner was Disturbed, we didn’t go watch them. We actually headed back to camp early though we could hear the entire site even once we got back to camp you could hear it clearly.
Sunday, the final day of the festival, the plan was to take it easy and not get into the crowds like we did the night before. With that thought in mind we went in even later around 5pm so that I could catch Anthrax play which I ended up missing anyway. However, we watched Falling In Reverse from behind the crowd. I have never seen them live and only knew 1 song by them, but they were really good as well. It looked like the crowd was really into it. It seemed like there was a lot of moshing going on, but it was hard to tell from where we were. When Mudvayne came on just a little after 7pm Jess and I decided to go into the crowd as it was getting a little cold. I told her if we go in the crowd, I will end up pushing us up which she was fine with. I got us about 10 people deep during their set. Earlier that day Jess and I talked about crowd surfing which she was against the whole day. I asked her if I got us 5 deep if she would do it but the best I was able to do was 10. I looked at her and we going to do this and though she didn’t really want to she agreed. I made sure I let everyone that I could know that we were coming. First we lifted her up and out she went. I was right behind her. This was my very first-time crowd surfing. I was terrified with the neck issues that I have but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I will never forget while we were surfing the song Happy was playing. It also seemed like forever before security grabbed me and pulled me down. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad that we did it. The idea was we were going to then stay back and watch Lynyrd Skynyrd from the big screen while sitting down and do the same for Metallica’s set. We did do that for Skynyrd but as soon as they were done Jess and I decided to work our way once again through the crowd and watch Metallica from there. At that point I didn’t expect to get us up that close as they were packed in. I got maybe 25-30 deep by the time they started playing. Once the crowd started moshing and people started surfing, we managed to get us about 5 deep from the rail. We watched pretty much the entire set that close to the stage. Metallica played 3 songs then they went into their Black album and played every song off it! They ended with Damage Inc and Creeping death. Once again at the end of their set they threw out handfuls of picks, this time Jess managed to get one for me!! What an awesome girlfriend! I had such a great time and can’t believe that I was able to see Metallica 2 nights and to be so close for both sets.
That night back at camp as most people were starting to pack up and leave, we had a huge camp party. A few people from another camp also came and hung out with us. They brought a beer bong with them which I did once, hadn’t done that since high school. We had an awesome time that night!
Monday, it was time to pack up and head back but before we left Daytona Beach back to Orlando we had to see the actual beach. We drove down there and walked down the coast for about half an hour while I smoked a blunt. I am glad I got the chance to see the ocean from that side of the US as it was my first time. I had only seen the ocean up in the Pacific Northwest. What difference between the 2 beaches.
All and all what a great festival! I am glad I got to go and see the bands we saw and got to hang out with the people we hung out with all weekend not only at camp but at the festival itself.
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